Which bright spark banned the light bulb?

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From today it has become illegal to import or manufacture traditional incandescent 60 watt lightbulbs within the EU. We are now to be forced to buy the so called energy saving light bulbs for which there are plenty of complaints about. They are reported to be more expensive, not as bright, take up to a minute to light up, are ugly and produce unpleasant light. Also much as the EU say you won’t have to change your light fittings, there are plenty of complaints that the new bulbs are simply to bulky for many older design lights.

What was once a 40p or 50p purchase will now be a £3 to £4 cost for the newfangled compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). They’re supposed to last for up to 10 years (I’ve had some blow already so they don’t always) and are supposed to save up to £100 over the life of the bulb. Prices are predicted to rise steeply for energy saving bulbs though, as costs for elements used in their manufacture such as phosphors, which largely come from China, are sky rocketing. Rising manufacturing costs might be real, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the cost of the new bulbs rise even higher once the manufacturers don’t have to compete with the old style bulbs. Expect to see an end to cheap promotions as they’ll no longer have to try to convince us to switch to the inferior new CFLs.

Personally I’m not a rabid tree hugger and what the EU seem to have missed is the fact that conventional bulbs leaking energy isn’t a problem. My cat (as with most cats) will actively seek out the warmest place in the house, and that’s normally in the kitchen under the spot lights which chuck out an enormous amount of heat. Light bulbs tend to be turned on when it’s dark and cold and the radiant heat they generate can in a well insulated house delay the inevitable switching on of the central heating. Ok, realistically you can’t heat a house with light bulbs, but the heat they generate sure doesn’t do any harm.

So what to do? Well you can still buy conventional incandescent bulbs at the moment, but prices are rising and when the shops run out that will be the end of them. There are currently ample supplies of conventional light bulbs available on eBay and I’d suggest stocking up as soon as possible. Many sellers on eBay have , which should keep most homes well lit for the foreseeable future.

I’ve already got a stock of CFL bulbs, and I’ve got a bigger stash of incandescent bulbs at home. I’ll be buying another before supplies dry up – at just 50p a bulb on eBay (delivered) it’s a bargain and I’ll be able to flick a switch and have instant light for the foreseeable future.

What will you do? Are you going to stock up on incandescent light bulbs or do you like the new energy saving CFLs? If you’re in the lighting industry did you stock up on incandescent light bulbs and will you do a deal for TameBay readers?

33 Responses

  1. New’ energy saving CFLs? Where have you been? I started using these 30yrs ago. The shortest lifespan of one I have experienced is around five years whilst a handful of the early ones kept going for 20yrs+.

    There’s plenty of light when you first click the switch and I personally don’t have a problem waiting 60 seconds for full illumination.

    The suggestion that the heat from incandescents might delay the switching on of central heating was priceless. Wouldn’t that equate with folk running fans or air-conditioning to counteract their effect when it’s gone dark in the summer?

    Just for your information, the newer energy saving lighting is LED.

  2. Regardless of the merits, or not, of CFLs, the biggest issue here is one of democracy. I can’t vote a change in this law via the ballot box if I disagree with it. If I don’t like the new light bulbs it’s tough. That is fundamentally wrong.

  3. There is a point about the newer energy saving bulbs. They contain Mercury and as such should not just be bunged in the bin when they die(and be vary careful if you break one). They should be disposed of carefully via a Council Disposal System. Just try finding a Council that has such a thing for these bulbs. So in most areas you have no choice but to bung them in a bin which could mean in time that the mercury will find its way into the groundwater(and in some areas that is where our drinking water comes from) and of course via such as springs into the streams and rivers.

    I have one of these bulbs hanging over my desk. Half the time I have problems trying to read under it. The other half there is still a bit of natural light so its not so bad.

    Yet another reason for getting out of the quite appalling EU. Lets get back to deciding for ourselves which type of bulbs we have.

  4. I heartily agree with Chris in the message number 4 above— about getting out of the EU and its too boisterous enactments;ill-thought out too, `very often.

    It is quite clear now that it was a big mistake to join the EU in the first place.

    Our Government has said it will hold a referendum about membership of the EU if further attempts to erode our lifestyles are made. When will they actually do it, though?

  5. I worked with someone who keeps Lizzards and he uses these old light bulbs to keep his Lizzards warm. I think we should leave the EU, its a waste of money. Now the Euro has gone tits up they’ll be asking the UK for more bail out money again soon.

  6. As an electricial retailer & eBay seller in Teignmouth, Devon, we’ve been inundated today with people panic-buying incandescent lamps. Thankfully we stocked up well ahead of time, so have plenty left but we’ve had people buying them in boxes of 100 at a time.

    It’s been obvious though that many people have no idea of the decent alternatives on the market. Most people we speak to have formed their opinion of compact fluorescents based on the free lamps that electricity companies send out- these tend to be of poor quality and have a slow start up time. There are plenty of better alternatives on the market, including fast-start, flicker-free and daylight effect CFLs, halogen GLS or candle lamps and LED GU10s. And for the person who said the price shoots up for dimmable candle lamps, they start at £1.50, and save on your electric bill as well.

    It would be well worthwhile for anyone concerned about the effects of energy-saving lamps to visit their local electrical or lighting specialist, who should be able to advise them of the range of alternatives and suggest options to suit each individual.

    Source: Electricians & Electrical Appliance Retail in Teignmouth, Devon

  7. Warren: I don’t think we should leave the EU over lightbulbs! ;o)

    Chris: I look forward to having a discussion with you about energy saving and tree hugging as the waters of the melted polar ice-caps start lapping at your ceiling and blow your old style lightbulbs! ;o)

  8. In regard to Electricity Companies. I am like most people I get regular phone calls from one or other of the companies(lucky there are only a handful-just imagine if there were say 25 companies all phoning regularly). They each go through my bill and say such as “We can save you £2-47 a quarter if you transfer to us.

    But their charges are for ever going up. The cheapest today may not be the cheapest next month or the month after. I did switch a few years ago to npower. I signed up to their fixed price charge. It did save me a lot over the course of the agreement. But the trouble is that when the agreement ended my electricity bill more than doubled.

    Probably the best deal if you can get it in your area is Solar Panels on your roof. Although to be really effective your roof needs to be South facing and you need a good rate of Sunshine(no good for northumbrian in the cold dark north).

    Another technique is to go round switching off lights and unnecessary electricals. Some of my neighbours houses look like Christmas Trees with every light on even if there is only one person at home. My house always looks as if nobody is in as I switch off everything apart from what I am actually using.

    As a matter of interest Your Cat has a favourite Light to sleep under. May I suggest a Duvet. My cat cuddles up under my duvet(when she is allowed in-she has an annoying habit of wanting feeding at 4-30 in the morning and deciding to wake me up to feed her).

  9. I don’t get all this grief, where have you all been. I could be wrong but I don’t think any country ‘voted’ in the original light bulb either… As for disposing of the new bulbs, take them back to where you bought them, our local hardware takes returns. I replaced with CFLS in 2006 when I bought my home in AZ and they are still working fine, the delay is no issue, the cost is no issue in comparison. And as for thinking you can use lightbulbs to enhance heating… that is just plain juvenile. Grow up, it seems the real problem here is the typical ‘can’t handle change, or being told what to do…’


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